Ken: The youth are our most precious asset and our hope for the future; they also are the most impressionable segment of our population. These factors make me highly concerned for their wellbeing.
In your opinion, what are you most proud of that the coalition has done or is working on?
Ken: I am the most proud of what the community has done as a response to the coalition’s goals and objectives. It is great that so many parents, teachers, business people, citizens, and especially the youth, have been working together toward the goal of preventing underage drinking.
What impact do you believe the coalition has made on the Community? The youth?
Ken: I believe that the coalition has helped to facilitate positive and meaningful changes in some of the underlying assumptions and myths that have shaped our local culture. For example, a lot of community members are surprised to learn that the actual incidence of underage drinking is not as high as they had assumed. In addition, most youth are happy to find that they can have fun and be accepted by their peers without using alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs.
In your own words, tell what the Lake of the Woods County Prevention Coalition does.
Ken: The Prevention Coalition helps to prevent underage drinking, tobacco, and drug use by encouraging positive decision making on the part of the youth and those who influence them.
The Coalition staff collects and analyzes descriptive statistics regarding attitudes and experiences that relate to alcohol, tobacco, and drugs. The resulting information is used to target new projects and to evaluate their outcomes. Examples of Coalition projects are activities and social groups for the students and beverage server training for businesses.
What are some ways you think people can support the prevention of underage drinking?
Ken: One of the best ways to support prevention is to be a positive role model, since the youth tend to emulate the people around them. Another way you can help is by participating in any of the Coalition’s activities or projects.